The Status of CTP
Printers and publishers are not yet on the same page of the CTP survival manual.
During the final decade of the 21st century, a revolution began. Digital visionaries began overthrowing imagesetters to free the printed word from the tyranny of film. Although computer-to-plate (CTP) innovation hasn't been quite that melodramatic, it has impacted everyone in the print industry—in most cases, for the better.
The results of a poll taken by P&PE reveal that how you react to CTP depends upon your role. Printers have implemented CTP, but in terms of adoption, customers are still on the fence. Advertising agencies have been rightfully hesitant. Publishers are moving forward with reservations, and prepublishing vendors are caught somewhere in the middle of the process. The one point on which everyone agrees is that the revolution is far over, and CTP is by no means an industry slam dunk.
"CTP has gotten to the stage where acceptance of the process is no longer a large barrier, and rarely does a customer question whether reproduction will be acceptable via CTP," says Jim Warmus, MPS director of prepress technologies, R.R. Donnelley & Sons, Chicago. "Remaining issues tend to focus on workflow changes ... and other factors regarding consistency of files—such as requiring ad suppliers to supply ads in a designated file format."
The American Business Press (ABP), New York City, conducted a CTP study earlier this year. Among its conclusions: "Technological progress is moving at a pace that is near impossible to maintain."
Acceptance of digital production is no longer the hottest issue; most people agree that CTP is our future. What continues to spark debate, however, revolves around implementation "hows and whens."
"We're at a crossroads," Robert Hoover, vice president of production, BPI Communications, New York City, told the ABP, " ... a majority of magazine publishers are holding back."